Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 4, Issue 2

I would like to thank Suzanna for giving me this opportunity. She should be proud of this issue and all the strong voices that it captures. Some of my favorite pieces are “Turtle Bay” by Henry Hintz, “Punk 4 a Day” by Diane Hoffman, the poems of Holly Day, Chuck Thompson, GTimothy Gordon, and Sarah A. Etlinger. If it were not for my first choice, “Two Fools” by Sarah A. Etlinger would be my winner because to its tightness, sharpness, and grace of language.


However, I find the excerpt of Theresa WilliamsFrom The Diary of Lea Knight to be the undeniable centerpiece of this issue. In this excerpt, Williams balances a combined feeling of prose and poetry in her writing. Her line work is crisp when called for and chaotic when necessary. In the best way possible, the notebook presentation of Williams’ project brings to mind Lynda Barry’s Syllabus, while the dark, real philosophizing evokes Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother? The work also takes me to old folktales, like Cinderella, that showcase familial catastrophes by an unhinged parent onto an innocent child, and the ensuing existential crises people feel under the force of an oppressive thumb. I think this slice of From The Diary of Lea Knight is a fascinating piece of sequential art, and I cannot wait to see more of it once it is inevitably published.




Dom Fonce is an undergrad English major at Youngstown State University. He’s been published in fiction, poetry, comics, and journalism. Some of his work can be found at Calliope of the University of Mount Union, Penguin Review, the Jambar, and the forthcoming summer 2017 issue of 3Elements Review. Collaborated with Vincent Butka (penciller), Jared Burton (inker and colorist), and Kaleena Spackman (letterer).

Volume 4, Issue 2 is Here!

The issue is available as a PDF: TMR Volume 4 Issue 2.

The optional theme is comics, be it drawn in sequential images or just plain funny.

Contributors: Gershon Ben-Avraham, Susan P. Blevins, Mela Blust, Charles W. Brice, Aria Callaham, Joan Colby, Holly Day, Darren C. Demaree, Adam Durso, Kelcey Parker Ervick, Sarah A. Etlinger, GTimothy Gordon, John Grey, Jack D. Harvey, Aloura Hattendorf, Henry Hitz, Diane Hoffman, A.J. Huffman, Phil Huffy, James Croal Jackson, Lonnie James, Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer, Matthew J. Kreglow, Claire Martin, Megan Miazgowicz, Jennifer Davis Michael, Paul Mills, TJ Neathery, Simon Perchik, Steven B. Rosenfeld, David Anthony Sam, William L. Spencer, David Spicer, Chuck Thompson, Dennis Trujillo, Bess Vanrenen, Maryfrances Wagner, Michael Whelan, Theresa Williams, and Kelsey Zimmerman.

Reviews: Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon by Colette Arrand, Auri by Auri, Internet Yearnings by Gary Beck, Mnemosyne’s Hand: Poems by Charles W. Brice, Her Secret Husband by Abbey Faith, The Future by From Ashes to NewBurn Site In Bloom by Jamie HoughtonRookland by Jesse Minkert, Beach Dweller Manifesto by Leah MuellerGhost Matter by Jade RamseyHeavenly Whispers by Roger SipplPermanent Change of Station by Lisa Stice, and i’m fine: A Haiku Collection About Mental Illness by Jamie Winters.

Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award: Theresa Williams, for “From The Diary of Lea Knight,” chosen by Dom Fonce.

Theresa Williams

Theresa Williams lives and teaches in Northwest Ohio. Her current project is a Sketchbook novel called The Diary of Lea Knight. It traces the inner life of Lea Knight, who has recently lost a baby. Theresa twice received Individual Excellence Grants from The Ohio Arts Council and has been published in numerous journals, including Gargoyle, Hunger Mountain, and The Sun.

From The Diary of Lea Knight, Volume 4, Issue 2
Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award, selected by Dom Fonce
The year is strangely quiet, Volume 5, Issue 1

Announcing The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 3 Issue 2

When I was kindly asked by Suzanna to be the judge for the ink award for the Volume 3 Issue 2 of the Magnolia Review I replied, I’ll give it a go. I thought picking a winner would be easy enough. Sure, I’d have a winner in no time. But as I read the first piece, a concrete poem, “Early Spring in the Woods” by Wilda Morris, I realised picking a winner wouldn’t be so easy.
I continued to read with the theme balloons featuring strongly. The writing interspersed with Leah Givens‘ beautiful colour photographs of balloons. I continued to read. Who would have thought balloons would bring up so much? There were notable reads like the comic, “The Book Harvest” (Dom Fonce, writer; Vincent Butka, penciller; Jared Burton, inker and colorist; and Kaleena Spackman, letterer), complete with word balloons. The haunting “Ghosts” by Rachel Edford. “First Day” by Bill Trippe had me invested in the characters and bursting out laughing. “Hypnophobia2 #1357″ by Ellie White shocked and lingered.
But the one piece of writing that really struck me was “” The story never loses sight of what it’s about, broken, complex characters. “” really engaged me as a reader, paying wonderful attention to detail and character. At times it is not what is said but implied that works so well. It’s full of humour and at the same time, the story never loses sight of real life and the people in it. 
So yes, drumroll please, the Magnolia Review Ink Award goes to Buffy Shutt for “” An excellent, thought-provoking piece of writing! Thanks to Buffy for such an engaging read and thanks to all the authors for putting their writing out there for us to read. Thank you for such a good issue.
Taidgh Lynch is a poet from the South West of Ireland. When he is not attending the MFA in Writing programme at the University of Saskatchewan, he likes to eat sushi, cycle, and go to gigs. His absolute all time favourite writer is Elisabeth Bishop. Find his writing in Bare Hands Poetry,The Poetry Bus, and Boyne Berries.
Read the Volume 3 Issue 2 here.

Dom Fonce–Interview

The Magnolia Review: Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

Dom Fonce: Oddly enough, I write most of my best work at my university, Youngstown State. For me, coffee houses are too busy to focus and home is too comfortable to get moving. I’m lucky that YSU, like most universities in general, has an abundance of space to relax, focus, and work. Campus, to me, is the perfect mix of public liveliness and homey agreeableness to crank out work.

TMR: What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

DF: I’m new school. I rarely leave the house without my laptop. Somehow, I’ve even taught myself how to type without looking down at the keyboard. It’s not romantic, but using a laptop is the quickest way for me to save my work in at least two different places.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

DF: When I first started taking writing seriously, I wrote, unwaveringly, 300 words a day for a year. I made it a routine to write every night. As a beginner, you have to work extra hard. Now I feel secure enough to write sporadically throughout the week whenever the urge hits me; however, I’ve made it a principle to read at least twice as often as I write. Letting what I’ve read marinate in my mind allows the inspiration to write exist in the first place.

TMR: How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

DF: I’ve been writing since 2014, when I finally chose English as my major. Turkish writer, Elif Shafak, has discussed her childhood propensity to talk to imaginary friends, which is a similar experience that I had growing up. When I shut off my naturally running imagination to become more “adult,” I became deeply depressed. Creative writing, the creation of characters on the page, relieved this stress.

TMR: Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

DF: It depends on what medium I’m writing in. For instance, I see a tremendous opportunity in comics and prose to write for Young Adult and Middle Grade audiences. However, all of my poetry seems to be written for adults. If I could have my ideal career, I would model it after Neil Gaiman’s. He writes excellent work for children (like The Graveyard Book) and adults (like Sandman) equally.

TMR: What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

DF: If I’m stuck, I write about the writing process. For fun, I wrote my version of Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by replacing the blackbird with the image of a stork. I got stuck midway through and decided to compare the legs of the stork, that bends in complete opposition to the human’s, to the mind of a writer. I concluded, however, that the strange bend of the stork’s leg is natural, just as the bending of a writer’s mind is natural. There’s so many ways to reflect upon the sensation of writing, and the writing process, with its many hurdles, that there is no excuse to let writer’s block defeat you.

As for what inspires me, it is the aforementioned stress and depression that I feel when I do not release my built-up imagination; I have no choice.

TMR: What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

DF: I’m trying my hand at vegetable gardening for the first time this spring/summer. I also enjoy lifting weights. I’m a big Browns, Buckeyes, and UFC fan. But mostly, I like having worthwhile conversations, whether it be on politics or philosophy or science or literature. Good conversation, in the long run, helps the writing.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

DF: My favorite part of the creative process is getting my work accepted—especially if money is involved. Again, not very romantic, but essential if you take the craft seriously.

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

DF: Read, read, write. Find good workshop partners. Good, trustworthy friends are more beneficial to you than any glamorous opportunity involving strangers.

Check out Dom’s work in the upcoming issue, Volume 3, Issue 2.

Dom Fonce

Dom Fonce is an undergrad English major at Youngstown State University. He’s been published in fiction, poetry, comics, and journalism. Some of his work can be found at Calliope of the University of Mount Union, Penguin Review, the Jambar, and the forthcoming summer 2017 issue of 3Elements Review. Collaborated with Vincent Butka (penciller), Jared Burton (inker and colorist), and Kaleena Spackman (letterer).

The Book Harvest, Volume 3, Issue 2
Judge of The Magnolia Review Ink Award, Volume 4, Issue 2

Here, We Bury the Hearts, Book Release